New Zealand lies in the south-west Pacific Ocean, 1,600 km east of Australia. It is made up of the North and South Islands and a number of smaller islands, with a total land area of 268,000 sq km.
New Zealand is the most geographically isolated of all countries. Closest neighbour Australia is 2,000 km to the northwest of the main islands across the Tasman Sea. The only landmass to the south is Antarctica, and to the north are New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga.
The South Island is the largest land mass, and is divided along its length by the Southern Alps. The dramatic and varied landscape of New Zealand has made it a popular location for the production of television programmes and films, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The country has a high standard of living with GDP per capita estimated at $24,100.
The population is mostly of European descent, with Māori being the largest minority.